sun 17/11/2019

Shakespeare

The Taming of the Shrew, Barbican review - different but still problematic

This is one play by Shakespeare ripe for tinkering. It's well nigh impossible now to take it at face value and still find romance and fun in the bullying: the physical and psychological abuse as a supposedly problematic wife is "tamed" into...

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As You Like It, Barbican review – uneven comedy lacks bite

Even the most ardent Bardophile has to admit that most of the time the Fool doesn’t shine in a Shakespeare production. Lamentable wordplay combined with philosophy limper than a dead capon means that with a few honourable exceptions, his interludes...

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Ian McKellen On Stage, Harold Pinter Theatre review - a master relishes the joy of theatre

Reviewing Ian McKellen's show is, in one sense, like appraising the Taj Mahal or Mount Everest: he too is an awe-inspiring phenomenon. In another sense, Sir Ian is not like that at all, going out of his way to be available to the adoring patrons...

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Macbeth, Chichester Festival Theatre review - cosmic yet closely crafted

There’s a fine balance between the cosmic and the closely crafted in director Paul Miller’s Macbeth, his first production in the expansive space that is Chichester’s main stage. It comes across as a drama unravelling in the wide open spaces of...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare's Globe – blazing-coloured, kick-ass carnival

Welcome to A Midsummer Night’s Dream as carnival – a blazing-coloured, hot-rhythmed, kick-ass take in which Oberon appears at one point as a blinged-up Elizabeth I and Puck exerts his powers as a flash-mob. Last month the glitter-ball hedonism of...

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First Person: Damian Cruden on reinvigorating the Bard away from London with Shakespeare's Rose

How we deliver culture in the modern day is complex. There are many misconceptions about where and who is capable of leading the nation’s cultural charge. The accepted conceit is that if culture doesn’t emanate from certain places, like London or...

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London Mozart Players, Davan Wetton, St Giles Cripplegate - rousing Shakespearean revel

The festival Summer Music in City Churches is in only its second year, filling a gap left by the demise of the long-running City of London Festival. This year’s festival had the theme of Words and Music and offered an enticing programme of recitals...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Bridge Theatre review – gender-juggling romp

Nicholas Hytner’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre is a feat of exuberant brilliance, a gender-juggling romp that takes Shakespeare’s subversive text and polishes it so that it glints and shines like a glitterball at a disco. No holds...

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Falstaff, The Grange Festival review - belly laughs and bags of fun

What is the perfect country house opera? A Midsummer Night’s Dream? L’elisir? Cenerentola? Figaro? All are strong contenders, but in the absence of anyone brave enough to stage Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest the winner – surely –...

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The Merry Wives of Windsor, Shakespeare's Globe review - a gallimaufry of acting styles

Need Shakespeare 's Falstaff charm to be funny? Those warm, indulgent feelings won by Mrisho Mpoto in the amazing Globe to Globe's Swahili Merry Wives and by Christopher Benjamin in a period-pretty version are rarely encouraged by this season's...

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Henry IV Parts 1 & 2/Henry V, Shakespeare's Globe review - helter-skelter ensemble history trilogy

Henry IV Part One (***)Women as Hal, Hotspur and Falstaff? It's been done before, and superlatively well, in Phyllida Lloyd's Shakespeare-in-prison trilogy (Henry IV Part One, with several crucial scenes from Part Two, between Julius Caesar and The...

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Ali Smith: Spring review – green shoots, dark fears

Stopped in the street for a vox pop by a BBC interviewer keen to “fill your air” with strife and bile, a character in Spring retorts that “there’s a world out there bigger than Brexit, yeah?” Newshound critics, take note. The symbolically named Brit...

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